Three killed in taxi attack

2020-01-17 15:06
The bullet-riddled taxi that was carrying passengers who were travelling from Durban to Swayimane. PHOTO: facebook

The bullet-riddled taxi that was carrying passengers who were travelling from Durban to Swayimane. PHOTO: facebook

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The lethal taxi feud in KwaSwayimane, apparently over routes, has claimed three more lives.

A four-month-old baby, a 15-year-old schoolgirl and the taxi driver were killed in a hail of gunfire when a minibus taxi was ambushed in Cato Ridge on Wednesday night.

The attack took place at about 7.30 pm in Eddie Hagen Drive. The taxi was transporting passengers to Kwa­Swayimane from Durban. The attackers opened fire using high calibre firearms, injuring seven other passengers.

The attack comes days after another taxi driver in the Swayimane area was shot and killed in an apparent hit. According to residents in the area, the taxi driver, who is also the son of a taxi boss, was shot by unknown assailants earlier this week.

In November, a two-year-old girl and a 40-year-old man, also from KwaSwayimane, were shot and killed in a hail of gunfire in the KwaNyavu area, Cato Ridge.

Private investigator Brad Nathanson and his wife, Esme, both trained in first aid, rushed to the scene after paramedics called for assistance.

Describing the scene on his Facebook page, Nathanson said: “The driver’s side of the taxi was riddled with bullet holes. Cartridges on the ground told me that an AK47 had been the weapon of destruction.

“In the taxi lay a schoolgirl, her young body contorted by the bullets that had ripped through her, killing her likely instantly.

“A young man’s body lay crumpled in front of the sliding door. It was obvious by the way that his body lay that he had attempted to flee from the gunfire.

“A baby who, if not for a single gunshot wound, would otherwise have looked like she was only sleeping. Her young brother had a gunshot wound to the back of his head, but it was only a graze and their mother had been shot in the stomach,” he said.

“The people who did this are cowards. What type of person kills innocent people over a taxi route? What kind of person instructs this kind of action? How dire the state of our country. There was so much agony in the air with women crying, people groaning from pain and sirens approaching. The smell of blood was palatable [sic],” Nathanson said.

Bheki Ntuli, MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison, expressed outrage over the incident.

“The killing of innocent commuters must not go unpunished and someone needs to take responsibility for this despicable act,” Ntuli said.

He said a special task team had been deployed to take over the investigation.

Ntuli said KwaSwayimane and Hammarsdale are among the areas that government and police are paying special attention to.

Meanwhile, Boy Zondi, KZN chairperson of the SA National Taxi Council (Santaco), criticised the government and police for what he said was a “continued failure act on taxi violence”.

“The culprits continue to run amok with no consequences. When politicians were being killed, a commission of inquiry was set up. Thousands of people have been killed in the taxi industry and its concerning that our lives are less important,” said Zondi.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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